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United States v Honduras

Outrage as USMNT's 3-0 win over Honduras goes ahead despite freezing -16 degrees temperatures & cold forcing two players off at half-time

10:58 EAT 03/02/2022
Maynor Figueroa Honduras USMNT 2021-22
Two players exited Wednesday's game in discomfort as conditions in Minnesota took their toll

Honduras goalkeeper Luis Lopez and forward Romell Quioto were removed at half-time against the United States men's national team on Wednesday, with the pair reportedly suffering from hypothermia, and head coach Hernan Dario Gomez has condemned the decision to play in freezing conditions.

The 2022 World Cup qualifier, which the USMNT won 3-0, was controversially staged in wintery Minnesota despite temperatures dipping down towards zero degrees Fahrenheit.

Players attempted to shield themselves from the weather with face coverings, but they were unable to prevent extreme discomfort.

What has been said?

"It's not normal," said Gomez before the game. "It's inconceivable that a power in every sense would bring you here to play a game and get a result. The game hasn't started, but I can't wait for it to end. Because it's not for enjoying, it's for suffering."

Lopez was reportedly still being treated in the locker room when the game ended.

His team-mate, Quioto, also suffered from hypothermia symptoms but his condition is less severe, according to Gomez.

How cold was it & why did the match go ahead?

There were various temperature readings of three degrees Fahrenheit (-16 degrees Celsius) at kick-off, with an icy blast making life difficult for both sets of players.

At no point was the game in danger of being called off, though, with USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter defending his federation's decision to both stage the match in Minnesota and let it go ahead.

He said: "What I would say is that we provided Honduras and their staff and the referees with warm weather gear. We provided them with heat gear, and were trying to make it a safe environment for them to play. When we go down to those countries, and it's 90 degrees in 90% dew point and it's unbearable humidity and guys are getting dehydrated and cramping up and getting heat exhaustion, that's the nature of our competition.

"When we schedule this game in this location, you have to go by average temperatures, daily average temperatures, and it was the best guess. We want to minimize travel. We knew we're gonna be playing in cold weather in two of the games and we figured to do it in the third game as well, instead of switching climates.

"The cold spell came through and it's something we can't control but all we can do once that happens is try to mitigate the risk by having warm weather gear and going out there and competing and we did that."

Defender Walker Zimmerman admitted that Honduras did not appear happy from the get-go.

"I don't think they wanted any part of that tonight," he said. "You could just tell coming out for warm ups, their starting 11 not coming out right after the half. As soon as we got that first goal, and especially the second goal, we felt like we were in really good form and in control of the game."

Reaction from USMNT players

U.S. forward Tim Weah wrote on Instagram afterwards: "I'm retiring next time we have to play in weather like this."

Weah's team-mate, goalkeeper Matt Turner, tweeted in reference to the cold temperature.

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